N.Korea says it will temporarily stop sending trash-filled balloons

North Korea has said that it will temporarily stop sending trash-filled balloons into South Korea. But it has also threatened to resume the operation, if the South Korean side sends more anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the North.

North Korea has been flying balloons filled with trash and waste since Tuesday. It was apparently retaliating against the actions of some activists in South Korea. The activists sent balloons with leaflets criticizing Pyongyang's leadership into the North.

South Korea's presidential office had warned on Sunday that it would take "unbearable" countermeasures against Pyongyang, if it did not stop sending the trash-filled balloons.

A high-ranking official from the office said the country had not ruled out the possibility of resuming its propaganda campaign against the North. The South previously used loudspeakers to broadcast messages, but it suspended the campaign in 2018.

Later on Sunday, North Korean Vice Defense Minister Kim Kang Il announced that the balloon operation was being temporarily halted. He claimed that Pyongyang had sent 15 tons of waste paper.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency carried a statement by Kim. He said Pyongyang had given the South Koreans a full experience of how disgusting and labor-intensive it is to collect scattered waste paper.

Kim added that North Korea will retaliate, if the South Korean side sends anti-communist leaflets again. He said Pyongyang will respond by sending balloons carrying "garbage amounting to 100 times" the quantity of the propaganda leaflets.

A group of North Korean defectors in South Korea has said it will send such leaflets in the near future.

North Korea is apparently trying to claim that the South is to blame for Pyongyang's balloon operation. It also appears to be trying to justify the action.